WILDLIFE HABITAT COUNCIL IS WORTH SUPPORTING
by Whit Gibbons
July 30, 2006
meaningful environmental declaration can be made than that of the Wildlife
Habitat Council (WHC): "The future of conservation lies not just
in protecting public lands, but also in turning private lands into meaningful
wildlife habitat by involving companies and people in the process."
WHC appears to me to be one of the most well-meaning, and potentially
effective, environmentalist groups operating today. The programs it espouses
seem to me to be among the most supportive of local community environmental
and conservation efforts.
WHC is much younger than many of the better known "environmental
groups." WHC was established in 1988 as an innovative concept in
which business would contribute to and benefit from conservation efforts.
The ultimate vision of WHC and those involved in its programs is "to
conserve and restore natural ecosystems for the benefit of humanity and
the earth’s biological diversity." The corporations, conservation
organizations, and dedicated individuals that comprise WHC have set as
their goal the enhancement of existing wildlife habitat and the restoration
of habitat that has been degraded or destroyed. Their ultimate objective
is to benefit natural habitats and native wildlife. A primary means of
achieving this goal is to encourage corporate landowners to manage unused
lands in ways that are natural and ecologically sensitive to the land,
water, and wildlife.
have known since the days of Aldo Leopold that protection and preservation
of natural habitats and all wildlife can only be accomplished through
cooperative effort. And cooperative effort requires public support. Environmental
sensibility cannot be legislated, and it cannot be bought. It happens
because people feel they are stakeholders and beneficiaries in the preservation
and restoration process. WHC seems to understand that reality and to be
taking the right approach to achieve it. Today, managed wildlife projects
involving more than a thousand corporate facilities in 48 states, Puerto
Rico, and 16 countries are assisted by WHC. More than 2 million acres
are better off because of them.
at Work" programs are developed by employee volunteers who create
wildlife teams, which are further assisted by groups from the local community--garden
clubs, civic organizations, scout troops, retirement villages, and schools.
Government agencies are also encouraged to become partners in the effort.
Established "Wildlife at Work" programs may become recognized
as "certified corporate wildlife habitats through WHC’s Corporate
Habitat Certification/International Accreditation Program." In an
associated activity, a corporate site with an effective environmental
education and outreach program can become certified through the "Corporate
Lands for Learning" program.
of ways in which WHC programs have used lands of corporate partners to
facilitate native wildlife include restoring wetlands, developing wildflower
meadows and pollinator gardens, and creating protective buffer zones along
streams and rivers. Some of the efforts are structural enhancements, such
as creating brush or rock piles for wildlife refuges and hibernacula;
placing basking logs and floating islands in water; and setting out bee
boxes, nest boxes, and raptor perches. Simply developing an environmentally
positive attitude among managers and employees of a company is a highly
constructive conservation step.
I agree with
the stated benefits of a WHC program, which include improved employee
morale, stronger community relations, increased public recognition, and
better relations with federal and state regulatory agencies. And I applaud
the obvious results of the program itself: enhanced wildlife habitat protection,
restoration of biodiversity, and opportunities for environmental education.
Companies, private or public, that receive WHC awards because they have
developed effective projects of on-the-ground habitat modifications and
environmental education programs deserve public recognition and support.
Check out the Web site www.wildlifehc.org
and see which companies you think deserve some credit. Or if you work
for or know of a company that might benefit from being involved in the
Wildlife Habitat Council programs, visit the Web site to find out how
that company can do its part for the community and the environment--and
simultaneously benefit from its conservation efforts.
I know I
am more interested in supporting the products and services of a company
doing its part for environmental sensibility than one that clearly is
not. I bet many other people feel the same way.
you have an environmental question or comment, email